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Does anyone else who is caring for an aging Mother find Mother's day leaving you empty and spent?

Often I mourn the Mother I never had. It seems most evident when trying to pick a Mother's Day card. (It was the same with Father's Day too). The thoughtful, "thank you for all the love, support, etc", just doesnt fit. It takes some to find a card appropriate to the situation.

Now that Mom is 87 and seems to be reverted to the hateful and narcisstic days of her youth, it is even harder. All my life I have been made to feel responsible for her happiness, feelings, etc. It had taken an unbelievable toll on my life although I have had much counseling and other help in becoming a happy balanced adult.

And yes, one stinging awful projectile of her hate and jealousy and I am right back to a 5 year old, wondering why my Mother hurts me so.

There are many, many post on these forums about how the parent can be mean and even jealous with their primary care giver. Reading these help but the pain is still there . I wonder sometimes, how do I bring this awful treatment on myself? Detaching is usually the answer to the immediate problem but even that comes back to bite me.

Reading about the lack of filter people with dementia may have is also helpful but the words and actions still pain, especially when trying to do everything possible to help the person.

What is the purpose of my Mother's Day post? Not entirely sure except to share my current pain, which seems to help so much.

A big hug and love and peace sent to all people on this forum experiencing the same today.

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You hit the nail, H2H. My nature is to care about everybody. I need to remind my self that taking care of myself is actually #1 and continue brushing up on codependency.
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What I've found with 'applying' my boundaries is that one day I'll feel really good and then a few days later back to feeling badly or 'guilty'... I think this is typical of good-hearted grown children no matter what, because this is our only parent... But, somewhere/sometime we have to come to terms that we did the best we could (especially when no one else did).
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Yesterday I put up my invisible boundaries with her and tried not to take anything personally. Most of all not to feel responsible for her happiness. It surprised me how many things she was negative about that didnt pertain to me. I came away much less drained than usual. Need to keep it up.
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I suppose there's a chance that like debralee, I too will have regrets when Mom passes. But I've had no choice but to set the boundaries and limit my contact. She's sucked the life out of my sister and I, pulled us away physically and emotionally from our own families with the imperious sense of entitlement. I'll deal with those emotions later. For now, I have to keep myself protected from her increasing anger and attempts to hurt. And I need to continue to be the best mom to my adult kids so that this freakin cycle of mother terror (from my grandmother to my mother to my sister and I) stops here and now. What's frustrating is to most people, our actions look out of whack because everyone adores her.
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Very good point H2H, Love is the answer. It is loving myself through the abuse that is the toughest. I know on many, many levels, that I am a good person and that people do love me, but it is tough when faced with the family nastiness. And despite what I want to believe, I do feel different since I never married and dont have children. I wanted both but couldnt seem to find the right partner. Probably didnt attract the right kind of partner. I dont even know what that is now at my advanced age. :) Thanks for caring.
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Hi Liz... You are right about the repeating patterns... Our generation at least tries to figure out and 'fix' the problem... but, as we know, it's difficult. Somehow we have to know that love is the answer, whether it's said or not said through forgiveness.
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Debralee, While our Moms are still alive we probably keep hoping we will have the relationship we always wanted. After they are gone, that hope is dashed forever. Yes, H2H, it is sad for them too. She was talking about her Mother today, who left she and her sister in an orphanage at ages 2 and 3. She never had the Mom she should have had either. It is sad that the cycle continues. One of the first things my counselor said was there is a history of abandonment in your family. You were abandoned by your Mother. She by her mother and even her mother by her grandmother. Very, very sad. Since I didnt have children we will never know if I could have broken the cycle. I am very close to my nieces. They have healed my heart in many ways. Peace and love to all tonight.
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I was thinking about 'the mother we never had' for the past few days and on the way to work today I thought... of coarse it's very sad... heartbreaking... but, isn't it also the other way around... That it's sad that they will never know the daughter they could have had?... It's a loss on their part also...My heart aches along with all of you and I am sorry for your loss...
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Thank you liz, tex and ash. I never thought I would feel so sad and empty at the loss of my mom. The weight on my shoulders shifted to the weight I feel in my heart. When I lost two of my beloved pets, I felt like my world shattered. Bringing another pet into my life help me grieve the loss of them. It is not so with a mother, you have only one. I will never be able to experience the closeness of a mother/daughter relationship here on earth.
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That's what I grieve for on Mother's Day, what might have been.
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Debralee I'm so sorry for your loss. My mother, in a NH, is deteriorating rapidly and now barely able to speak. A life long narcissist, who I avoided at all costs, the combination of parkinsons and stroke seems to have knocked the stuffing out of her and the last few days she's been pleasant and considerate, like the mother I spent 65 years wishing for. I don't know how long she may have left and just take it one day at a time. That we have to get to this point to have any kind of relationship at all is very sad and, somehow, I feel sorry for us both for what might have been.
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Debralee,

So sorry for your loss. It seems like human nature that we remember more the good than the bad. Suppose that is a self protective quality. Please forgive yourself if that is where you are going with it. If your Mom was like mine, she was probably difficult to love at times. Big hug to you.
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I mourned the mother I never had until she died 4 days ago. Now I am mourning the mother I did have and never realized it until she was gone. Yes, I had huge issues with her, but they seemed to disappear when was gone and now all I remember were the little bit of the good qualties she had. Maybe if I could have put aside all the anger and bitterness toward her, I would have seen some good in her when she was alive.
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Thanks everyone. It helps to read the comments before I head out for another night with Mom. Actually she will be in attendance but there will be others around. TG. My SIL is picking her up and I will take her home. Going to see a niece play violin. The dynamic of knowing the vitrol is false but still it sinks in at some level, is one of the toughest issues I have faced in my family life. Not just Mom degrading me but Dad, (now deceased), and some of my brothers. I knew it was false and would try to stand up, but when dealing with bullies that doesnt always work. I have found great comfort in nature and spend as much time doing outside activities as possible. It really seems to calm me.
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I never understood why all mother's on Mother's Day are suppose to be worshiped. Do they all deserve the motherhood 'privilege' that was bestowed upon them? Did they all act and treat their children with the utmost respect that they solely desire or demand? What about all the mothers that didn't want children and got pregnant?... Even my OB/GYN (that I've known for 30 yrs) told me he sees a LOT of women that shouldn't be a mother... And, why isn't there a daughter or son's day?... or, better yet... a Caregiver's Day?
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From my experience, verbal abuse still hurts, despite all we've done to move on, because it's like there are 2 opposing things we're taking in: 1) we have some amount of self esteem to know that whatever is being said to us is deliberately cruel, completely uncalled for, AND untrue; but on the other hand 2), the way we've been taught to cope is to believe what is being said, to take the blame. If we stood up for ourselves at a young age, all h*ll would break loose, and we knew that, even if we weren't consciously aware. For me, it took decades of struggle, and the help of a therapist, and PLENTY of distance from my mother -- the more distance, the better.
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amazing how narcissism spreads throughout many many of these posts, in different areas.
It also galls me that the label of 'mother', which should be an earned title, is slapped on anything that manages to have a child. Many of these females should never even have been trusted with a gerbil, much less a child, but society insists on calling them 'mother'. Anything else one can use, egg donor, womb rental unit, etc, would be regarded as judgmental. oh, we shouldn't be that way? Call it what it is: a nasty, manipulative, self centered old .... (name your own term).'
I think, for ones own sanity, one has to develop a thick enough hide to allow this garbage to slide off and away. Ignore, tune out the narc. Walk away. There has to be a disconnect, amount of disconnect depends on severity. These narcs will not drop dead, will not end up having no care. They will get it, but not what they want or expect. In a nursing home, they are not the centers of attention. If they act out, they may well end up in psych units.
two cents ¢¢
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Hugs across the miles to everyone here dealing with the narcissistic mother. There are so many versions of it - some worse than others. My mother is gone now, but can relate to when I set boundaries, it would make it worse. And, yes being told I abandoned her, I was selfish and only thought of myself. After a lifetime of it, I did develop a thicker skin. It always amazed me how she could turn on the charm at the NH, telling lies about me, etc. Yet another symptom that truly hurts. It was the social worker at the NH and counselors at Elder Services who truly helped me deal with this most unpleasant personality disorder. They were well aware of what was going on and they saved my sanity. But, there were many taken in by the deception - and explaining false accusations is exhausting. I just let it go after a while as my own health started to suffer due to it.

Many years ago on the Oprah show; Oprah once shared these words regarding how she dealt with situations beyond her control and it helped me. She said "I know what I know". And for some reason, those five words helped me deal with the accusations, the lies, the false persona, etc. Often I would just say it to myself and try to let things go. In a way, it became my mantra and it helped me as I was dealing with this all alone. It's been 1 1/2 years and I'm just now able to hear the phone ring without my stomach turning as to what I might be in for on the other end. Yes, it does feel like a form of PTSD. But, gets better with time. My heart goes out to those continuing to go through this. Take care of your own health as best you can.
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Thanks, Starrysky, and for the hug. I can say it is not my responsibility and realize she is becoming a bitter old bat, but the words still hurt most of the time. I guess that is part of being raised with nars. You feel overly responsible and believe, on some level, they are right. I know that is crazy talk and do all my relaxation techniques, venting and sharing here, talking to friends, placing boundaries etc. Just sayin', it is still a struggle.

Unfortunately creating boundaries with Mom usually just makes it worse. Because now I have "abandoned" her or I am selfish and only thinking of myself. A vicious cycle. Think I will practice tightrope walking in the back yard. It might help. :) Thanks for caring.
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Hugs Liz, responding to this bit "Any suggestions are helpful. I do stand up for myself, create boundaries etc., but every time something like this happens I question how did I attract it and what can I do to avoid in the future. Maybe there is never any avoiding it. "

I cannot claim victory at all, but one thing I've learned it's helpful to assign the responsibility where it belongs. You didn't attract anything you mother does, she is the one who acts for whatever reasons she does. It sounds like you do a wonderful job at self-care and playing defense but be careful not to extend that to taking responsibility for getting hurt by genuinely hurtful things that you didn't cause.
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Very sad. vstefans. And even with all the work I have done and knowing her accusations are crazy; on some level, it still hurts.
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Yeah, my mom had her moments and had love in her heart but it was just blocked up and twisted around by a lot of perfectionistic ideas she got from somewhere, who knows... It all left me feeling very worthless, because I would honestly think yeah, there are only three things my mother found wrong with me: everything I did, everything I thought, and everything I liked or wanted.
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Thank you so much everyone that posted. Unraveling the threads is such a good analogy. It's like "I get it", do the work, heal and move on and then something else happens. Part of it, I believe is mourning the Mother we never had. I want to believe, at times, I had that great mother, but deep in my heart I know I didnt.

We did have a period of years before she started losing her faculities to age that we were closer. I even thought many of these wounds were healed. Maybe that is why it is doubly difficult to go back to the snake pit again. Surely part of it is to age and feeling helpless etc. But she could live a long, long time and I will not let my health go down here as others have warned.

What is the jealousy factor in all of it? When she is mad she throws up the things I do to stay healthy like eat right, exercise, use alternative relaxation methods etc. Once again, it is the core of my being that the Mother seems to detest. That is a very, very difficult thing to hear over and over again. That there is something inherent and unfixable, (in her warped mind), about me. I realize that is a sign of the narcissist.

I am not sure how to move forward from here but she has suggested I set her up on automatic bill pay so I wont have to help her with her bills. That is probably a good idea although it will require time on my part to set it up.

Ugh! Sorry for the on and on rambling. It is the only way I know to get the poison out of me.

Peace to all the daughters and sons of narcisstic mothers. You deserved better and are loved just the way you are.
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Honeymoons are not shared with ANYONE other than the new spouse!! Good. Grief.

I also do not know what keeps us tied to the hurts from our upbringing (or lack thereof). The knots do seem to unravel a little with the passing of time, and much reflection, but there always seems to be another layer of them underneath.
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I too want to thank you for sharing your stories (and a big hug, Shakingdustoff). Mothers Day is so hard with a narc, and trying to explain it to a normal just makes it worse. I tried that a few times, and my friends just stared at me like I had two heads. A narc mother goes against everything that society holds mothers to be, so people with normal mothers just don't even GET it. I no longer bring this up with anyone I don't know REALLY well.

And like someone earlier, I too didn't have children. My experience with narcMom soured me on the whole Motherhood thing. I'm not sure if I was afraid that I wouldn't be a good mom, or that I didn't have any good personal experience, so I just couldn't relate. She always subtly discouraged it because I think she wanted me to be available to cater to her and enabling father and brother with a disability.

She's been being VERY nice lately, and it's head-wrecking. I know she's trying to figure out how to somehow line me up as a primary caregiver to the three of them. DH and I are retired but don't live nearby (by design), and I think she's trying to entice us to move closer so they can stay in their enormous home and we can be their live-in or live-near housekeeper/cook/handyman/gardener/laundress/chauffeur/slave. Uh, not going to happen.

So I learn a lot from these posts, from those of you that have been much more in-person caregiving and are kind enough to share. My heart kind of breaks when I read these, because I really understand what it is like to be so let down, when all we yearn for is the simple unconditional love of a parent for its child. And look how something so basic has wounded us all so deeply and for so long.

Thank you again for sharing. When you pour your heart out, I hope it is therapeutic for you, but I also wanted to assure you that it is very helpful for someone like me staring down the abyss of potential future caregiving.
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hopefully we all took our parents shortcomings and tried to improve ourselves by them.
parenting is a thankless gig. i think we should have a " be a parent " day with legal amnesty. it'd be something like festivus.
you could tell the kids what you thought of their halfa**edness and if ya caught em blocking you out or if they tried an end run around you, you could . by law , bust em over the head with the aluminum pole.
i have a couple of grown friends who wont take advice but call me when their idiocy blows up in their faces.
my 7 day experiment in civility ended about like id expected. ( pointless )
if your'e my kid or my friend im going to swing the cutting torch under your azz every now and then -- asbestos underwear b**ches..
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Today is the first Mother's Day without my mom. And a small part of me misses her, but mostly I am just relieved. I think Mother's Day adds immeasurable stress to those with narc moms because everyday must be a celebrated mom's day. My mom's birthday was also in May and she "simply would not suffer the indignities of celebrating them together." One year, I had to because I was going on my honeymoon. My mom called the cruise ship and told them It was an emergency. We were in port so I had to be located and excorted back to the ship. When I called and asked what the emergency was she said, "well there would've been one if you hadn't called back. It's my birthday and a good daighter always thinks of her mother regardless what she is doing. I wanted to share in your honeymoon and know you hadn't forgotten me." I immediately hung up and fumed the rest of the day.
I feel similar Liz. I don't have any suggestions other be true to yourself. Sometimes it takes a while because you don't even know who you are because you've been so busy wasting yourself placating a parent.
Try to soak up some sun, some love. Cheers to you all!
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Thank you all for sharing your stories. It is very, very sad, the pain you have all endured and for no good reason. Mother is supposed to be at least marginally supportive and loving . Very unfair when it is the opposite.

I think the unkindest cut, is how this treatment has effected our entire lives from our health, partner and job choices, etc. I see so clearly now why I chose the men I did and why I never got married. Most of them were just like her. And I was always afraid to have children. Fearful I wouldnt know how to be a good mother because I didnt have one.

I was diagnosed an alcoholic at the age of 21. And have felt more shame and damage about that ever since, even though I know it is a disease and largely genetic.

Actually being diagnosed at a young age probably have saved my life because it forced me into counseling and treatment. I have been sober over thirty years. Of course having the label of an alcoholic only worsened my relationship with my Mother and the rest of my family. It is their "go to" fault of mine when needed, even though I am 30 years sober.

It is amazing how unfeeling and caring my Mother was during my hard times. Totally abandoned me and it is still thrown up in my face. The upside is my life is usually very happy and I am at peace with much. At least partially due to having to come to grips with my alcoholism and learn other coping skills. I am however constantly amazed how unfeeling she is about that part of my life regarding her desire to put drinking so high in any family gathering. (No, she is probably not an alcoholic.)

Sadly every incident with her throws me for a loop and back into a period, even if only a few days, of gloom, loathing etc. Even though I know her words are not true, it all hurts. Coupled with my father's misogyny (sp), and you have a recipe for disaster.

Again, thankfully I have overcome most of it. However, although many would consider me a very accomplished and strong person, I wonder if I some how attract this whipping post position in my family. Any suggestions are helpful. I do stand up for myself, create boundaries etc., but every time something like this happens I question how did I attract it and what can I do to avoid in the future. Maybe there is never any avoiding it.
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Mockingbird nothing will ever make a narc happy. They must be the centre of attention at all times. In their minds they are entitled to slaves 24/7/365 to wait on them hand and foot at a snap of the fingers. It's all me, me, me, me, want, want, want, want but, should they get what they want either it's not good enough or they don't want it any more.

My mother is 88 now, and has been a manipulative, mean and spiteful narc all her adult life. She has no friends and I'm the only family. As her daily phone call screaming tantrums were making me ill, a few months ago I changed my phone number and I've always been careful not to let her have my address - 20 years ago she called the cops on me when I didn't answer the phone and she wasn't looney tunes back then, it was just control.

Detachment is the only answer when dealing with a narc. I only visit every week or two now. She has no way otherwise to get at me and I'm starting to heal. We will never be truly free until the narc dies and even then, if we've suffered with a narc for a lifetime, I don't think we'll ever truly recover. It's like having PTSD forever.
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I have a narcissistic mother that lives in a assisted living facility. I`ve been by her side for the last 5 years doing everything and anything to make her happy. It can`t be done, all she cares about is herself and trying to have that mother daughter relationship that normal families experience wil never happen for me. As hard as it will be for me I have to distance myself from her but still making sure she has what she needs. I`ve told to contact a home health agency and hire someone to check in on her once a week and bring whatever supplies she may need etc. Can anyone out there tell me that they are in the same boat and have any suggestions. Any ideas would be helpful.
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